Manito Park vigil remembers 10-year-old killed in crash



Posted on May 7, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Updated Thursday, May 8 at 11:31 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.—More than 1,000 people participated in a vigil at Manito Park on Spokane’s South Hill Wednesday night, honoring a 10-year-old who died in a car crash the previous weekend.

The memorial for 10-year-old Gracie Snider at Cooper Elementary School grew during the days leading up to her vigil.  Ribbons, balloons and pictures hung from the fence at the North Spokane school. Classmates wrote notes to show how much the girl was missed.

Family and friends described Snider as amazing, awesome and wonderful. Her uncle, Ben O’Brien, said the death was devastating for the family.

READ: Memorial grows for Cooper Elem. Student killed in crash

“Our hearts ache and I feel a deep tender wound because someone so precious and young is no longer a part of lives here on earth,” said one of Snider’s former coaches Chaz Valdez.

 “Just full of life,” he said. “She was the spark in everyone’s life.”

The Washington State Patrol said Snider’s soccer coach, 38-year-old Nathan James, crashed into the back of a semi-truck while driving on Interstate 90 outside of Ritzville the previous Saturday.

BUY: Order a Play for Gracie t-shirt

James’ 10-year-old daughter, Ayla, was Snider’s teammate on the Spokane Foxes Soccer Team. She was also in the car during the wreck and continued fighting for her life Wednesday in the hospital.

DONATE: Help with living and medical expenses for James family

The close-knit soccer community came together to support both families. Community members sold Spokane Fox t-shirts to help pay for Snider’s funeral costs.  They had raised at least $18,000 on Wednesday.

Snider’s funeral was planned for Tuesday in Spokane.